GCBC Week 5: “Because I Live, Ye Shall Live Also” By Elder Shayne M. Bowen

Welcome Back. I’d love to “hear” from more of you in the comments because it’s always great to get each other’s insight about these talks. For week 5 of general conference book club, we’ll be studying Elder Bowen’s talk from the Saturday A.M. session:

“Because I Live, Ye Shall Live Also”

By Elder Shayne M. Bowen

Because of Him, even our Savior, Jesus Christ, those feelings of sorrow, loneliness, and despair will one day be swallowed up in a fulness of joy.

Elder Bowen shares an experience of teaching a woman on his mission who had lost an infant, and how much relief she found through the doctrines in the Book of Mormon.

He then recounted a personal tragedy about the loss of his own 8-month old son who choked on a piece of chalk. He highlights the stages of his mourning and grief and the role that those same doctrines he had taught years ago as a missionary played in his healing and recovery from such a tragedy.

Elder Bowen shared this beautiful quote from Preach My Gospel:

We can be filled with joy, peace, and consolation. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

What did you find meaningful or powerful in this talk? How has the gospel helped you to find hope in very desperate circumstances?  Discuss in the comments below.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club:  You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)

Divinely Appointed Sacred Powers, by Michelle

Original photo : [stu-di-o] by jeanie Photography, via heirloommagazine.com

One of my favorite quotes is from President Boyd K. Packer, who says, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.” I love the Proclamation to the World on the Family because it is a clear, powerful, doctrinal document, full of simple truths that are such an anchor in these challenging times.

Of course, as we all know, some of these truths delve head-first into the most highly-charged social and political issues of our day. For example, consider this simple phrase from the Proclamation:

…the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

As many of us have experienced, sometimes it can be extremely difficult to know how to respond to the questions — and even outright opposition and anger  — regarding our beliefs and standards.

But as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland recently reminded us (if you haven’t yet listened to his talk, I highly recommend it…as in, go listen to it now if you can!):

“This Church can never ‘dumb down’ its doctrines in response to social goodwill or political expediency. It is only on the high ground of revealed truth that gives us any footing on which to lift another who feels troubled or forsaken.”

There is power and love in truth.

I’m grateful to share two examples from lives of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that illustrate this power, specifically how the power of truths about morality and marriage that have helped bring people to Christ and His gospel.

My sister told me a few months ago about a (now 17-year-old) young woman named Sarah who, in response to friend’s simple question, was able to talk about marriage and the law of chastity. Sarah kindly agreed to share the story with Proclamation Celebration readers.

Every day in my art class I sat by a group of girls who had never really heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I would be tired when class started because I had been to early morning seminary.  The girls had a lot of questions about my morning church class.  They asked about polygamy, dating, drinking and many other things — because I was the only “Mormon” they had ever met. 

One of the girls and I became good friends. Even though our lifestyles were very different, our personalities clicked and we had fun together. Every time we would hang out, she would ask more questions about the Church. When my older brother got engaged, I told my friend about him and his fiancé. She asked me about them and asked if they were both virgins.  I said I was confident they both were. She asked why they would do that. I told her we believe that a sexual relationship is sacred, and that they had saved their love to be given only to their spouse. I had only offered her a simple explanation. I didn’t feel like I had taught any sort of spectacular lesson or shared a new insight.

But, after I had said this her countenance dropped. I will never forget the look of sorrow and remorse on her face when she said, “Wow. . . . I wish I’d thought of that.” The fact that abstinence and fidelity was a new idea to her shocked me. I was given a new appreciation for what I had been taught since I was a child.

My friend, who was once so tied down by the weight of her sins has since joined the Church. Her imperfections were washed away and Heavenly Father remembers them no more. Her sexual transgressions, though they were serious, are no more, and she is now leading a virtuous, wholesome life.

I am so grateful for the protection of the commandments and the grief it prevents me from carrying. Not only am I grateful for the sin the commandments save me from committing, I am even more grateful for the cleansing power [of the Atonement]. I testify that virtue truly is power. I know that being virtuous — though it is not always easy, and it is certainly not popular — is truly the way to happiness.

I was also moved by this recent Mormon Women comment in response to the question “Why do you choose to be a Mormon woman?” Dee wrote about how the morals and values we teach, and the Proclamation itself, drew her to the Church:

I choose to be Mormon because I can feel [the] Holy Spirit within me. I believe in The Church and the word I read in the Book of Mormon. I have strong morals and values and The Church has the same type of morals and values I have always held so dear to my heart. I grew up and attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints until I was 7 then my mom stopped going. My grandmother has been a member for 32 years and always prayed I would find my way back to The Church. Now, at the age of 24 I have been baptized and live in The Gospel. I love being a member of The Church. I love being Mormon. I love being able to be me and feel comfortable, I no longer feel like the odd one out, I feel like I am back with my long lost family. One of the strongest things I read that made me know this church was right for me was reading The Family: A Proclamation To The World.

As Sarah notes, it is definitely not popular to live and believe what we live and believe. But it’s eternal truth, and there is power in truth. I believe as we calmly, compassionately, and consistently seek for the Spirit’s help to live and share our faith (even in small and simple ways), God can continue calling to His children who, like Sarah’s friend, are still “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (Doctrine and Covenants 123:19).

I conclude with the words of Elder Holland…for the next time you have someone ask why it is that a politically neutral church is taking a stand on certain social issues.

“Sensitively explain why some principles are defended, and some sins are opposed wherever they are found, because the issues and the laws involved are not social and political, but eternal in their consequence. And while not wishing to offend those who believe differently than us, we are even more anxious not to offend God.”

And again,

“It is only on the high ground of revealed truth that gives us any footing on which to lift another who feels troubled or forsaken.”

I know the doctrine that our prophets teach is true. The Proclamation is powerful doctrine for our day. The Savior and His Atonement are real. The gospel has been restored. I pray that we may have the strength, guidance, wisdom, and charity to know how and where to share these marvelous truths with others.

Michelle is a wife and mom of three. Before marriage and motherhood blessed her life, she served a mission, got a B.S. in Psychology and an MBA (Organizational Behavior emphasis), and worked as a business consultant. She’s been grateful to be a stay-at-home mom since her first child was born. She is currently the managing editor of mormonwoman.org.

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue from Sept 17-30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

The giveaway this week is a Dream Big Family Rules Subway Art sign from Landee on Etsy. “One of the reasons we love to create things for our homes is because our favorite people live there! We love our families and want them to be in a happy & healthy environment. We always try to create products that are positive, motivating and uplifting. Stop by our shop and find that special detail for your home that you’ve been looking for!

Family Proclamation Celebration, Day 1: Family Is Central


Here is a video (in which I talk fast and breathlessly and say the wrong day of the week) about 1) what to expect and look forward to in the Family Proclamation Celebration, and 2) how you can get more involved.  Also, grab and share the button over there on the sidebar (—>) to help more people find what we’re doing.

Over the next two weeks, this blog will be graced with guest posts from some really remarkable people who will share their thoughts about family and faith. I wanted to kick things off with my own testimony and gratitude for the role of family. In the first sentence of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, this thesis statement is literally proclaimed:

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

Prophets and apostles receive inspired revelation and speak for the Lord. The following description of their role gives a clear picture of why this Family Proclamation was given:

Like the prophets of old, prophets today testify of Jesus Christ and teach His gospel. They make known God’s will and true character. They speak boldly and clearly, denouncing sin and warning of its consequences. At times, they may be inspired to prophesy of future events for our benefit.

So before we even begin to study the contents of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, I want you to know that I believe God speaks to us today through living prophets and apostles. I know that when I have heard and obeyed their counsel, the promised blessings have come. The world we live in is increasingly dark, angry, and confusing, but our Heavenly Father sends us guidance and direction through His servants, and He sends confirmation of those teachings through personal revelation.

The family is central to God’s plan. Central. Of primary importance. Sister Julie Beck taught that the theology of the family is based on the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement:

The Creation of the earth was the creation of an earth where a family could live. It was a creation of a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. It was not about a creation of a man and a woman who happened to have a family. It was intentional all along that Adam and Eve form an eternal family. It was part of the plan that these two be sealed and form an eternal family unit. That was the plan of happiness.

The Fall provided a way for the family to grow.Through the leadership of Eve and Adam, they chose to have a mortal experience. The Fall made it possible for Adam and Eve to have a family, to have sons and daughters. They needed to grow in numbers and grow in experience. The Fall provided that for the family.

The Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally. It allows for families to have eternal growth and perfection. The plan of happiness and the plan of salvation was a plan created for families. I don’t think very many of the rising generation understand that the main pillars of our theology are centered in the family. When we speak of qualifying for the blessings of eternal life, we mean qualifying for the blessings of eternal families. This was Christ’s doctrine.

What does this theology teach us about ourselves? What does it point us toward and what does it turn us away from? Sister Beck later taught that anything that is anti-family is anti-Christ. We must hold family in highest regard, not just in our faith structure, but in our hearts, in our calendars, in our covenants, and in our choices.

Another thought that has occurred to me often is this: If family really is central to God’s plan, it makes sense that the knowledge, gifts, and talents he gives us individually are intended, first and foremost, to bless our families. I have certain skills that I sometimes think would be better used in other ways, but maybe God knows me and my husband and children and extended family well enough to know that my skills are exactly what is needed to help all of them become who He wants them to be. And of course, it follows that their skills and talents have been given to them to bless me as well. The first and greatest recipients of our talents and blessings should be our families. (They also happen to be the first and greatest recipients of our weaknesses, but isn’t it nice that God set it up so that the people who love us the most are the ones who help us work through them? That points us to the business of growth and perfection, and therefore, toward the Atonement.)

I used to look at other moms with their glaring talents and abilities so different from my own and wonder if I was somehow an underachiever. On other occasions, someone would come up to me and compliment me on something they thought I did well and they wished they could do better. I have learned to recognize that perhaps if I had someone else’s talents instead of my own, I wouldn’t be the mother that my children need. Heavenly Father knew my children (and me) before they were born, and He knows exactly what their little spirits need to learn and progress.  And he gave them me. Me. There’s something about all of us being together in a family and navigating this life with each other’s help that polishes us and grows us. The closer we come to each other by applying the principles in the Proclamation, the closer we come to Jesus Christ.

Families are central in Heavenly Father’s plan, indeed, but my family is central in my plan too, and I’m so glad I can count on His help.

How is your family “central” to you?

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue from Sept 17-30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

The giveaway this week is a Dream Big Family Rules Subway Art sign from Landee on Etsy. “One of the reasons we love to create things for our homes is because our favorite people live there! We love our families and want them to be in a happy & healthy environment. We always try to create products that are positive, motivating and uplifting. Stop by our shop and find that special detail for your home that you’ve been looking for!